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Hodgson admits Lucas influential in Liverpool form reversal

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson admits the form of Lucas Leiva has been influential in their upturn in results.

It was expected the arrival of the experienced Christian Poulsen from Juventus would restrict his first-team appearances but the opposite has been true.

Hodgson admits the 30-year-old Dane, whose substitution in last week's Europa League win over Napoli was greeted with ironic cheers, has struggled to adapt after moving from Serie A.

But he believes he and his other summer signings Joe Cole, whose Liverpool career has been interrupted by suspension and injury, and Raul Meireles will play key roles this season.

"Lucas is a young player and I have to keep being reminded he is not that old and does not have that much experience," said the Reds boss.

"People clearly marked my card as regards to many players and when I came I knew there was a prejudice against him.

"I have got to say I don't see what people really found to criticise in him.

"I can only judge as I find and I find him very hard working, a very diligent player who works hard on his understanding of the game and team performances.

"Christian Poulsen, who has had a bad start to the season, is to some extent also a victim of prejudice at the moment.

"I am convinced in both of these players we have really useful players who will serve us to great effect for the rest of the season.

"Maybe Christian will have to go through a bit of what Lucas went through but I know the players have the quality we are looking for and I know they are going to help us win matches."

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